Instead of deal directly with the airlines, has it ever occurred to you to use a good travel agency to book your spring break vacation? Airlines will quote you fares and book your flights, but that’s as far as they go. A travel agency can offer discounted fares, advice on spring break destinations, and may have a great deal or two for you and your friends. Spring break is barely two months away, so now is the ideal time to start looking for a travel agency.
If airlines are offering huge discounts to lure money-weary individuals into travelling, imagine the larger discounts that a travel agency can offer. Since travel agents purchase blocks of seats, they can pass on the savings to their customers.
There are numerous travel agencies, but there is only a fraction of those agencies that cater to the special needs of the student travel industry. Although you can use any travel agency to book your spring break vacation, why not choose a travel agency that specializes in student tours and spring break vacations?
Looking for the Right Travel Agency: Tips
Before you book your next spring break vacation, the travel agency must satisfy certain requirements. You may want to look into the following criteria:
* Full Description of Services – Does the travel agency introduce itself adequately to potential customers? Do they have contact numbers, student packages, discount programs, and do they explain the procedures for their spring break packages as well as clearly state their refund policy?
* Variety – Does the travel agency have a wide range of destination choices and do they have hotel categories that meet all budgets? Some travel agencies like to specialize in a certain number of destinations – USA, Canada, or Mexico; some cover the world! When travel agencies can book spring break vacations almost anywhere in the world, that means that they’ve been in the student travel industry long enough and are confident that they can offer far away and exotic destinations without any problems because they belong to a large network of travel professionals;
* Discounts and Deals – Does the travel agency extend discounts for group travel or do they have frequent hot deals to offer? The capability to offer great deals can mean any number of things: they have good relationships with major airlines, hotels and tourist organizations, they receive discounted rates from suppliers and they in turn offer these to student travelers, or they are booking so many flights and vacation packages that they earn free points or free miles. You could be offered a deal to the Bahamas, your destination of choice, because the travel agency happened to receive a deal from a Bahamas tour operator at the time you booked!
* Photographs – Wouldn’t it be nice to see what you are getting into? If you are going to a spring break destination for the first time, you would want to know what kind of hotel you’re staying at, wouldn’t you? It isn’t enough for the travel agency to say, “You’re booked at a 4-star hotel”. You’ll want to know the name and location of that hotel so you can look it up on the Internet or ask people about it, plus you’ll want to see the rooms, dining facilities, and recreational facilities. Some travelers have been dismayed to find out that the hotel had only one treadmill, as opposed to what the travel agency described as a “full operating gym”. Or that the travel agency said 12 tennis courts, when in fact the hotel did not have any, referring travelers instead to a sports center a mile away!
* Interactive web site -Instead of spending precious minutes on the phone asking the travel agent about destinations, packages and vacation amenities, it would be simpler to do the search yourself on their web site by giving you the option to select a city and a package. When you’ve found what you’re looking for, that is when you call and ask for details that weren’t covered on their web site.
* Flexibility – some travel agents require you to pay for their packaged vacations to be able to receive discounts, but some travel agents are flexible in that they allow you to choose only air, or only hotel, or both.
A good travel agency is well organized. This important trait is evident in the way they present travel information. For example, there are websites that are designed to specifically cater to students. They list the cities they serve with a brief article about popular attractions and then you click on a link and the screen displays what their package covers plus costs for the city you selected.
So if you’re using a travel agency to book your spring break vacation, look for an agency that’s efficient, organized and capable of offing some fantastic deals.